The movie Life With Dog has many heavy themes like guilt, forgiveness, despair, and dealing with the sudden death of a loved one. Be aware if your child has trauma in their life that would make these topics difficult for them.
At the same time, it provides a context to discuss these ideas with your kids.
I watched this movie with my 5, 11, and 13 year olds. While the action is slower in this film than my teens are used to watching, they did stay for the whole viewing. Some of the emotions and deep feelings went over my youngest’s head.
Having a dog as one of the main lead roles in the movie helped to bring sometimes comic relief to a serious storyline. And it likely will help your younger kids identify and process through some of the big emotions portrayed.
There isn’t much action for most of the 106 minutes. The main character spends most of the movie processing through losing his wife. As the movie plays out, we learn more of the details surrounding her death.
Most of us were questioning the point of “Dog” in the movie, but by the final few scenes, the story came full circle and we could empathize with the main character, Joe.
While this movie mentions God and Jesus and a pastor comes to try to help Joe process his grief, any actual spiritual transformation happens off-screen and you hope that Joe’s life is redeemed, not simply that he is able to move on after his wife’s death.
While this movie shows an accident scene, some potential shooting scenes, a playground scene, an office scene, and a few others, much of the movie involves the internal conflict of the main character, Joe, while he is at his house. His recently deceased wife, Alice, appears in his thoughts while he wrestles with his emotions, grief, and guilt.
Because much of the movie is about these intangible ideas, your youngest kids probably won’t be able to follow the conflict.
However, it does provide a great jumping off point for your tweens and older kids. These themes might not be normal discussion topics in many families, but addressing them in a relaxed context is key.
This movie will open up conversations like this:
- How should we handle despair?
- What is the role of guilt in our emotions?
- What are healthy ways to process loss?
- What does our faith and worldview tell us about these things – despair, guilt, loss, grief, and the existence of evil?
- What can we learn from this movie about ministering to others in their grief?
- What about forgiveness? What’s the problem with harboring bitterness and refusing to forgive? Conversely, what happens when we offer forgiveness?
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